Jan. 6, 2005
If Wednesday night was any indication of what this conference season will be like, then strap in and get ready for the roller-coaster ride, baby! What a night it was ... six ranked teams went down to defeat, including three Big East squads. Let's break down the upsets (rankings from the ESPN/USA Today poll):
Boston College 75, No. 9 Connecticut 70 — BC's Craig Smith was in foul trouble most of game but still scored 16 points. It was the Eagles' last visit to UConn before joining the ACC next season. Coach Al Skinner's team remained unbeaten (12-0) and showed guts and determination in posting another W!
Georgetown 67, No. 12 Pittsburgh 64 — After a 43-1 start at Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh has lost there to Bucknell and Georgetown in less than a week. The Hoyas start three diaper dandies, and coach John Thompson III had to be on cloud nine, getting his first Big East W.
Villanova 84, No. 23 West Virginia 46 — Wow, a 38-point blowout. Coach Jay Wright's team showed it deserved respect against the Mountaineers, who had shocked everyone with their 10-0 start. The Wildcats have experience, and Allen Ray scored 26 points as West Virginia fell from the unbeaten ranks.
Michigan 65, No. 15 Iowa 63 — Michigan point guard Daniel Horton returned from a knee injury and scored 13 points in 26 minutes. Sophomore John Andrews hit four key free throws down the stretch. Coach Tommy Amaker's team is a different group with Horton back.
Houston 70, No. 16 Louisville 67 — Andre Owens scored 27 points, and the Cougars have nine wins already, matching the win total of their entire 2003-04 season.
Vanderbilt 70, No. 18 Alabama 56 — The Commodores were 12-of-25 on 3-point shots.
Then there were a handful of close calls...
Kansas edged Texas A&M 65-60. Kansas freshman Alex Galindo, who originally was supposed to play for A&M coach Billy Gillespie when he first signed at UTEP, hit a key 3-pointer to give Kansas the lead 61-58 with 42 seconds left. So Galindo beat the guy who originally signed him!
Kansas guard Keith Langford was in foul trouble in the first half and never really got untracked. Maybe Gillespie will get the last laugh for his scheduling philosophy of playing many early cupcakes. Arkansas coach Stan Heath probably feels the same way, as his Razorbacks routed Mississippi 69-46 on Wednesday.
Notre Dame beat Seton Hall 66-65 on a late 3-pointer by Colin Falls in a Maalox Masher. This shows the quality and depth of Big East play.
Kentucky got by South Carolina 79-75. Coach Dave Odom has had three tough road setbacks: at Pittsburgh, at Kansas and now this.
Virginia beat Western Kentucky 80-79 in two overtimes. The game went to OT because of a goaltending call, and the winning shot came with 2.6 seconds left.
Conference play is going to be exciting, baby! It should be an incredible campaign on the road to St. Louis and the Final Four.
Dick Vitale coached the University of Detroit and the Pistons before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.